Super Mario 3D World is a great game and will certainly boost the Wii U's popularity. While I didn't find the game up to par with the quality of the Galaxy series (especially in terms of single player experience,) it is the best game on the Wii U, especially if you have friends and family to play with.
The cat suit... Well I had my doubts and they were well-founded. Prior to the games release, Miyamoto said that the cat suit would not only introduce new dimensions into the game, but also make it easier for people who can't quite master the platforming. If that sounds like dumbing down to you, then you are right because in many levels the cat suit absolutely makes the game a snore. In others it introduces many new ideas, but more often than not it makes certain levels ridiculously easy and renders classic mario platforming obsolete. And while it is quite and cuddly, it often just seems lame.
Speaking about lack of difficulty, this is easily the least challenging mario game to date. Yes, I understand that this game is partially made for kids and families and multiplayer - and therefore HAS to be quite easy - it was still upsetting at HOW easy it was. By world 4 I had over 50 lives. This lack of difficulty takes the challenge out, and certainly makes one ups and power-ups completely worthless. Because of this, I simply cannot recommend the game to anyone planning on playing it alone. That's a shame, because there are a many, many levels with wonderful designs and ideas, but only a few offer a challenge.
Thankfully, the multiplayer saves it. I won't mention too much about it, except it's just mad mayhem and works very, very well. It's optimal to have 2 others, for a grand total of 3, to have a lot of fun without running into camera problems.
Nothing to mention about the story, as usual. But the graphics are better than ever before. The sound is great too, though not up to Galaxy level. But then, not much about this game is.
Overall, it's a solid game and a great one if you are playing multiplayer. Less abundance of lives and not so many darn cat power ups might have bumped up the difficulty, and bumped the score up to a 9.
Zelda has always been my favorite series, but, if recent polls are anything to go by, it is no longer seen as the legendary king of all games it was in the 90s. This is partially because of the 'dude bro' mentality of some gamers, but also because the brand might just be getting a bit stale. A Link Between Worlds makes a few drastic changes to the formula that make it worth playing, and in particular any fans of the FIRST LOZ and A Link to the Past, will enjoy this immensely.
The biggest change is that the game is non-linear, sort of like the first LoZ. It's a pretty tiny, but detailed, world that you can explore in (almost) any way you want due to the renting system. This allows you to tackle the games dungeons in any order, but it does remove the joy of previous Zeldas about braving dungeons to uncover a mystical weapon then used to defeat the boss. But whether you like this new system or not (I think it needs a bit of tuning,) it definitely freshens up the formula.
The one problem with renting is that the danger of renting (dying) occurs very little since the game is quite easy. 10 hours in, I've died just twice. Hero mode should have been available at the beginning… but anyway, you can upgrade the weapons you buy so there is an incentive to actually buy instead of rent. In addition, this new system makes rupees much more valuable (unlike previous Zeldas.)
The Painting... Much like the catsuit in the Mario game I am currently playing, it opens up a bit more platforming (this is better), and while you have to use it a lot, it never feels as awesome as the grappling hook or other staples.
The dungeons themselves are very very well designed, though I wish there was more of them! The length of the game is a bit too short but I guess it is a handheld Zelda. Besides, the game is at least twice as long as some of the other triple A titles released this year.
Lastly, the characters, sound and story of this Zelda are by no means a stand out in the series, but they are solid enough to keep you interested.
In the end this Zelda will be remembered for it's nonlinearity, an experiment I would say is a grand success and I hope Zelda U continues on it. In addition it does away with nuisances like an extra-long opening and an abundance of fetch quests. However, some things I have long desired in Zelda, like scaling difficulty (as soon as you get a few hearts the combat in the rest of the game is trivial) have not been delivered.
Nevertheless, the game has very few faults, and it is quite clearly the best game on the 3DS.
Obviously... it's Zelda.